When it comes down to making the evolution from beginner to competitive (not pro) SC2 player, learning to adapt and alter your gameplan is a difficult step. At least, it was for me. As someone who has come from a background of no RTS experience, StarCraft 2 has basically been my introduction to the genre.
So, now that I’m at the point where I understand my units, I have a good idea of what to build and when to produce, what do I do when I need to evolve my army? Despite the effectiveness of Marines and Marauders, certain situations call for a little more versatile force.
This, my friends, is called “transitioning”. In most cases, it’s “transitioning into tech”, which is basically a simple way of saying going from an army of biological units - Marines, Zealots, Zerglings, Roaches - into your “level 2” units such as Siege Tanks, Vikings, Immortals, Colossi, Mutalisks, etc. Now, the “transition” doesn’t just occur once a game, it occurs any time you change the core of your army, so you may evolve into the level 3 units come late game such as Broodlords, Thors, Carriers, Motherships, and so on.
Transitioning is done most successfully with proper scouting or just by general information gathering throughout the game. For example, if your army is primarily Zerglings and Roaches and you find out your opponent is coming at you with mass Void Rays, you’ll need to either shut him down quickly or start producing Mutas or Hydras to counter the air. After you shut that down, another transition may occur where you go back into a ground-heavy force or even transition into the top tier units.
When it comes down to it, you can only plan transitions so much. Usually this comes in the early game, when you may start by producing some units for harassment purposes and then transition into your proper army. Beyond that, you need to be reactionary all throughout the game. Of course, successfully transitioning comes with time and learning what the best response or counter is to a particular unit.
This is part of Budha’s StarCraft Pyramid - “Knowledge”. The Pyramid, if you haven’t seen it, is on the Team Liquid forums here. My next two videos will actually feature this Pyramid as I try to break it all down for the noob in all of us.
But anyway, as I was saying, “knowledge”. This is what you gain from playing and reading about the game. The “knowledge” to understand what units counter what, when to build them, and how to protect yourself. When it comes to the lower leagues, here’s the basic steps behind a successful transition:
DOWN TIME TRANSITION:
1.) You push in with an army. You discover that in order to make a successful push against your opponent’s tech, you need to transition out of your current army.
2.) Either after an engagement or before one, you recall back to your bases, set up defenses and begin the tech transition. Depending on supply, you may send in a few of your units to harass your opponent with the knowledge that they’ll die and free up supply.
3.) Build up your new tech, remax (if at late game), and begin your push again.
1.) You push in with your army. While you’re trading off units successfully, you know you don’t have the right composition to finish the opponent off.
2.) As you lose units in battle, you begin building from your new tech choice to replace them.
3.) At this point, you can either group up at your base with your new tech of choice or push out immediately with this new tech to counter his lost forces.
These are just two examples of the most typical situations of transition in the game, regardless of when they occur. The point is, being alert to your opponent’s army and knowing when to transition are important steps to victory, especially as you climb the ladders to higher leagues.
A 3-Rax all in will only get you so far.
Until next time…